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Oxford Jacket Jams

Oxford’s Nick Richardson follows through on a pitch against Pell City on Thursday at Choccolocco Park. (Photo by Joe Medley)
Oxford’s Nick Richardson follows through on a pitch against Pell City on Thursday at Choccolocco Park. (Photo by Joe Medley)

Oxford, AL – A day after Oxford hit two grand slams in area-series opener, Yellow Jackets work out of bases-loaded jams to cement upper hand on Pell City.

By Joe Medley

Oxford found a winning formula in its Class 6A, Area 13 series with Pell City … hit grand slams then work out of bases-loaded jams.

A day after Hudson Gilman and Forrest Heacock hit grand slams in a victory at Pell City, Nick Richardson worked out of two bases-loaded jams to key a 3-1 victory in Game 2 against the Panthers at Choccolocco Park.

Pell City won the optional third game 11-2 as Oxford played several younger players, but Oxford (16-8) is 2-0 in area play.

“It means a lot,” Gilman said. “We started off strong in the area, and we just need to carry it to the rest of the series.”

Oxford won Wednesday’s series opener 11-4 at Pell City, where 2023 Alabama Mr. Baseball and Gatorade Player of the Year Hayes Harrison hit a seventh-inning grand slam to key the Yellow Jackets’ 7-3 victory in Game 2 of last season’s area series.

Whatever mojo Harrison captured at Pell City last year, Oxford recaptured it Wednesday. Heacock hit the only grand slam of his prep career to put Oxford up 5-0 in the third inning.

“We had bases loaded, and I’m just trying to get the job done in the situation,” he said. “Can’t roll into a double play. We’ve got one out, so I just tried to get a ball to the outfield. That way, we could get a sac fly and score a run.

“It just happened to go my way.”

Gilman’s grand slam in the fifth put the Yellow Jackets up 9-3.

“I was pumped,” he said. “I was excited. I was just glad we won the game.

“Really, I saw a first-pitch slider. He hung it a little bit, and I just caught it out front.”

Oxford starting pitcher Nick Richardson faced bases-loaded jams in the third and fourth innings. He got Braden Bell to ground to third baseman Rocco Maniscalco, who triggered a 5-4-3 double play to end the third-inning threat.

“I was struggling in the first half,” Richardson said. “I tried to throw it down the middle, and they hit it, and it rolled over and we got a double play.”

Richardson got William Perry to line out to right-fielder Tide Gann in the fourth.

“He wasn’t real sharp, and we left him in there because we do think he’s a really good competitor,” Oxford coach Travis Janssen said. “He has some poise.

“There were two different situations that bases were loaded. One looked very dicey. I was proud that he was able to keep his composure and proud that he was able to get out of those situations.”

That allowed Richardson to go 5 2/3 innings before turning things over to Carter Johnson, who got help working out of a jam with two runners on in the sixth inning. Heacock, Oxford’s catcher, picked off pinch runner Carson Smith at second base for the third out.

Oxford’s Nick Richardson follows through on a pitch against Pell City on Thursday at Choccolocco Park. (Photo by Joe Medley)
Oxford’s Nick Richardson follows through on a pitch against Pell City on Thursday at Choccolocco Park. (Photo by Joe Medley)
Oxford players celebrate after catcher Forrest Heacock picked off a runner at second base to end Pell City’s at bat in the sixth inning Thursday at Choccolocco Park. (Photo by Joe Medley)

Johnson tripled ahead of Gilman’s single to tie the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the first.

Oxford added a run in the fourth when Canaan Whitman followed Gann and R.J. Brooks singles with a sacrifice fly, and Richardson’s sixth-inning RBI double played Oxford third run.

“We win an emotional first game where, it was one of those games that was really good,” Janssen said. “Then we came out and tried to get some people some experience. Hindsight, when the score turns out to be the way it was, we probably, maybe, did a little too much tinkering.

“The combination of rest and getting guys experience, slash, just trying to get some confidence in some guys. That was our mindset, and it didn’t turn out real good in the second game.”

Photo gallery by Joe Medley

Oxford’s Carter Johnson turns down the first-base line after getting a hit against Pell City on Thursday at Choccolocco Park.
Oxford’s Hudson Gilman watches the flight of a ball he hit against Pell City on Thursday at Choccolocco Park.
Oxford’s Forrest Heacock takes a cut against Pell City on Thursday at Choccolocco Park.
Oxford catcher Forrest Heacock and pitcher Nick Richardson meet on the mound during the first two games between Oxford and Pell City on Thursday at Choccolocco Park.
Oxford’s Carter Johnson follows through with a pitch against Pell City on Thursday at Choccolocco Park.

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